Term of the Week: Stitching “In Hand”


This week’s Term of the Week is something that all stitchers have done at one point or another, and may still do it today – I’m physically unable to stitch in hand but that doesn’t mean someone else can’t!

So what does “stitching ‘in hand'” mean exactly? It’s actually extremely simple.

When you are working on a piece, if you stitch without anything but your fabric, needle, and thread – so no hoops, frames, stands, or q-snaps – then you are stitching in hand. It literally means to hold your fabric in your hand and stitch with nothing else attached.

Most of the time, stitchers only stitch in hand on small and/or irregularly shaped projects, the ones that are hard to use hoops on. But for some people it hurts or isn’t comfortable to hold a hoop or use a stand, so stitching in hand is the easiest way to get your stitching done.

For me, I find it extremely uncomfortable to stitch in hand for long periods of time. If I don’t use a hoop my left hand will cramp up and my left wrist will become irritated, making me unable to stitch. On anything other than small, 2 inch projects I have to use a hoop. Stitching in hand is physically not good for me.

What about you? Do you like stitching in hand or do you prefer a hoop or frame? Leave a comment below!


“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

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